You're about to read a post written by Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, Pn1.
Tom is the Vice President and General Manager at Thorne. He has more than 13 years of experience in nutrition, metabolism, lab testing, nutritional supplements, and other aspects of health and fitness. He has experience working with rneusands of fitness-minded individuals and has written over 400 articles on health, fitness, and performance. Tom helped create the Thorne brand and now manages it, and was interviewed in the recent podcast episode “How To Know If Your Supplement Is Safe, Legal And Contains What It Says It Contains.“
Since Ben Greenfield first posted his article “A Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet” both Ben and Thorne have received a number of excellent questions and some great feedback from all the people who have been using the Multi AM/PM Complex Ben talks about in that post.
What you're about to read will address most of your burning questions (and of course, you can leave your comments below the article if you have more questions!).
Before we jump in, I should mention that it’s a huge privilege to have Ben on the Thorne Advisory Board. Ben joins Dr. John Berardi, Joel Jamieson, Bob Seebohar, Dr. Rachelle Viinberg, and Jaime Martinez as a group of educated experts in our industry who will help shape the direction of new and existing Thorne products and services.
Now, let's jump right into your questions…
Are Thorne products available to be shipped for internationally?
Yes. We have warehouses in the United States and Canada, so shipping rates are more reasonable in these two countries, but we have just negotiated significantly better shipping rates for other international shipments.
We heard from a lot of Ben’s followers in the United Kingdom and Australia. You will see much better international shipping rates in the next couple weeks.
Are your manufacturing practices third-party certified?
Yes. In addition to flawlessly completing two FDA inspections in the last three years, Thorne Research is the only U.S. manufacturer that has completed all three levels of certification issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of the Government of Australia.
The TGA certification affirms that Thorne Research’s manufacturing practices are sufficient to export pharmaceutical products to Australia if that were our business.
We chose to use the TGA certification process over NSF because the TGA certification process is more rigorous and is accepted in more countries. You can view the TGA certification here.
Who is the Thorne line of products intended for?
The Thorne product line has been created for high-calibre fitness professionals and their clients, as well as top-flight athletes. Customers include personal trainers, sports nutritionists, sports dietitians, and others – and the clients they work with and advise.
Individuals who use Thorne products are generally healthy, on a path toward even better health, and are aspiring to optimize their health through nutrition, exercise, and good lifestyle habits.
On the other hand, anyone who has a significant, pre-existing health condition, or a woman who is pregnant should always consult with his or her health-care practitioner before beginning any nutrition supplementation program.
In any event, nutritional supplements like those in the Thorne product line are not intended to treat or mitigate a disease condition, so this is advice consistent with FDA guidance to the industry.
Thorne Research has more than 20,000 active health-care practitioner accounts, so the Thorne Research name is well-known in the health-care practitioner space. These practitioners mainly recommend the Thorne Research product line to their patients.
Multi AM/PM Complex Questions
What is unique about Multi AM/PM Complex?
The Multi AM/PM Complex formula contains a number of vitamins and minerals that have excellent bioactivity profiles; for example, active B vitamins like methylcobalamin (rather than cyancobalamin) and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as 5MTHF or L-methyl folate) rather than folic acid.
This premier formula also includes mineral bisglycinates. These are mineral chelates, they are only available through Albion®, and they demonstrate superior absorption properties compared to other chelates or mineral salts.
Three other ingredients are included to support energy levels and recovery from exercise and everyday stress: green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, and Relora®, a patented blend of phellodendron and magnoliaextracts.
You can read a more thorough overview of the formula in our blog post How to Build a Better Multi or listen to Ben's podcast at Quest to Find the Best Multi-Vitamin on the Face of the Planet.
Are capsules absorbed as well as liquids or powders?
There is no research showing that powdered or liquid supplemental nutrients are any more effective than capsules are.
Trying to draw a distinction between capsules, on the one hand, and liquids and powders, on the other hand, is no more than a marketing angle. The idea being suggested is that liquids and powders are somehow being absorbed better or quicker because there is no “barrier” between these forms and the environment of the stomach.
However, this is marketing hype rather than science. The vegetarian capsules used in Multi AM/PM Complex – made by Capsugel® – are designed to break down in the stomach in the first 10 minutes following ingestion.
The stomach normally maintains a very acidic environment (a pH close to 1.0), although it can be higher in individuals who have a compromised digestive system. Capsugel’s vegetarian capsules have been tested at pH levels as high as 6.8, which is the approximate pH of the intestines and of drinking water, and have been shown to break down in about 10 minutes in those environments as well.
The difference in how well a capsule, or a powder or a liquid-based nutritional supplement is absorbed has much more to do with the forms of nutrients used and whether or not unnecessary ingredients, such as magnesium stearate, are added during the manufacturing process.
What if someone doesn’t swallow pills well?
When necessary, the capsules in Multi AM/PM Complex can certainly – and easily – be pulled apart and mixed into a beverage.
We understand that some individuals simply don’t like swallowing capsules. We get that.
But based on the 30 years we have been making products for health-care practitioners who work with patients who have a number of physical and medical challenges, this has not been a significant issue.
Is Multi AM/PM Complex safe for a woman who is pregnant?
We recommend that any woman who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant should always consult with her health-care practitioner before starting any supplementation program.
Pregnancy creates specific nutritional needs, and Multi AM/PM Complex was not designed to be a prenatal supplement. In these cases, we recommend any woman to use a good prenatal nutritional supplement, such as Thorne Research’s Basic Prenatal, both before and during pregnancy.
The Basic Prenatal multi-vitamin will actually be available through Thorne.com in the near future.
Was there a reason behind not including more magnesium in the product?
There are a couple of reasons we did not include more magnesium.
First, in order to add more magnesium, we would have to take something else out of the formula. Because magnesium bisglycinate is a bulky ingredient, adding an incremental amount of magnesium would mean we would need to remove a fairly significant amount of something else.
We believe the formula is more powerful as-is, than were we to remove something instead, such as the awesome extras like green tea phytosome, curcumin phytosome, or Relora.
We believe these extra nutrients are very important for active, fitness-minded individuals and athletes.
Second, many of the nutritionists and fitness professionals who advise us recommend that a larger amount of magnesium be used just before bedtime. This higher intake of magnesium supports better sleep, reduces restless leg syndrome, and helps individuals relax more in general.
It’s unlikely you would experience these same benefits if you were to take all of your supplemental magnesium in your multi-vitamin product.
Is copper harmful in a multi-vitamin?
In an excessive amount, like most other nutrients, copper can become toxic. Copper toxicity is rare and very rarely the result of supplementing with a normal amount of copper. Copper toxicity usually arises from being exposed to very high levels from excessive supplementation or from an environmental condition.
Multi AM/PM Complex includes 1,500 mcg (1.5 mg), which is a very safe and appropriate daily amount of this essential nutrient. This amount is well below the upper limit level 10,000 mcg set by the Institutes of Medicine.
Do you have more than two forms of vitamin E in the formula?
Yes. Vitamin E occurs in many forms in nature, but the only form that appropriately can be measured in International Units (IUs) is d-alpha tocopherol. In Multi AM/PM Complex, D-gamma tocopherol is also listed further down the Supplement Fact label as part of a mixed tocopherol complex.
The formula includes 48 mg of d-gamma topherol, which is an appreciable level without going overboard.
Multi AM/PM Complex does include other forms of tocopherols, but the available current research shows d-alpha and d-gamma are the most important for health.
What is curcumin and is it safe? Also, what is unique about the curcumin you use?
Yes, curcumin is safe. It’s one of the most-studied botanicals in the world, with more than 5,000 years of use and over 3,000 published papers and studies on this one botanical!
Curcumin is a key constituent of turmeric, the yellow spice used in Indian and Thai foods.
Curcumin’s effects on the body’s metabolism are widespread, and include supporting normal levels of inflammation, promoting muscle tissue recovery after damage, stimulating fat oxidation, and modulating serotonin levels. Click here to read more about why Curcumin may be the Most Amazing Botanical in the World.
Interestingly, just today, as I’m writing this post, another technical study was published on Indena’s curcumin phytosome complex ― the one used in Multi AM/PM Complex.
This study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that, in addition to all of the other amazing things curcumin can do, it can help relieve or reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following exercise. Awesome! For those who are interested in higher doses of curcumin phytosome, we offer Rebound, which includes 500 mg of curcumin phytosome per capsule.
Some individuals do claim that curcumin can interfere with medications; however, this is only theoretical and has not yet been proven in any research.
What is Relora, and is it safe?
Relora is a proprietary combination of phellodendron and magnolia extracts that is an ingredient in Multi AM/PM Complex. Like many prescription products and natural products, it has not been studied on women who are pregnant, so we do not recommend it for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Acute toxicity studies on Relora have been done in animals and there is no evidence of toxicity at levels well above those that are used in products for humans.
Relora does act as a mild sedative, which is the reason it is put in the evening formula. It is intended to support relaxation and restful sleep.
Although Relora is not known to interact with any drugs, because of this action it should not be used with medications that cause drowsiness or sedation.
And there is no credible scientific evidence to suggest that Relora is a problem if one also drinks alcoholic beverages.
As with all other nutritional supplements, Relora should be discontinued prior to surgery.
Do nutrients in the formula compete for absorption with one another?
The idea of nutrient absorption competition is not new.
I remember when Life Time Fitness first introduced their multi-vitamin formulas, they were formulated with certain nutrients to be taken at different times to avoid possible competition. That was in 2002.
During the time I was responsible for LTF’s supplements, a number of enhancements were made to their formulas, including the multi-vitamins.
One change was to move away from the nutrient competition concept because it didn’t seem as well-supported as once believed.
Competition for absorption has not been proved to be an issue for optimal health. If we did think it was an issue, it would be easy to separate nutrients into the two different formulas that make up Multi AM/PM Complex, but our Medical Affairs team is not convinced this is appropriate.
Following this train of thought, it would require that individuals would need to modify the timing of eating the foods in their diet in general, because their diet is still the major source of nutrients. Combining certain foods would mean that nutrients would not be absorbed. Nobody has ever suggested that.
In addition, it is recommended that a multi-vitamin be taken with a meal for maximal absorption, so specific diets would be required when taking various formulas to eliminate the chance of nutrient competition. This is neither necessary nor practical.
In the opinion of our Medical Affairs team, based on all of the research they have reviewed, we do not see nutrient competition interfering with the effectiveness of any Thorne product, including Multi AM/PM Complex.
Wrapping it Up
We are excited about the huge response and positive feedback we have received on Multi AM/PM Complex from those who have been using it the past few months.
We know there is a lot of misinformation floating around online about the use of multi-vitamin products in specific and nutritional supplements in general. So if you have a question about any Thorne product, please contact us at [email protected]. Depending on what your question might be, either our customer service team, or a member of our Medical Affairs team, or I will answer it for you.
If you haven’t already started using Thorne products, you can order Multi AM/PM Complex or other Thorne products by clicking here. You’ll receive 10 percent off when you order through Ben Greenfield as a Thorne Affiliate and Advisory Team member. If you yourself are a personal trainer, nutritionist, physician, etc. and your credentials qualify you to become a Thorne affiliate, you can register as a Thorne Affiliate here.
Thanks for reading, and leave your questions and comments below!
Also published on Medium.